The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
It appeared from Jesus’ actions in the first four verses of John 6 that he was going to gather some group of his disciples and teach them. However, this apparent purpose seems interrupted by the needs of a crowd. Approximately 5,000 men are noted as present. Though John makes no mention of it, there are likely additional people, women and children. It’s a large crowd. Jesus takes up a purpose which is stated here. He speaks to Philip to test him. “Where will we get food for all these people?”
Though Jesus knows the supply of food is limitless by his grace, Philip does not apparently make that connection. It would cost about a year’s wages, or close to it, to feed that many people a little bit. After a while, Andrew does manage to produce a small lunch. Jesus uses this small provision and makes it into a large provision. He feeds the entire crowd until they are full, then has the disciples pick up all the leftovers, which are much more than the original amount of food. Jesus has just done the impossible.
What is our normal response to a leader who is able to feed us, apparently with no significant supplies? Would we like to have that person take care of us always? That seems to be the desire of the crowd. Jesus evades them, knowing they would like to make him a king. This is not his desire. Jesus instead asserts his ability to act based on his own agend, which is not clear to the crowd or to his disciples. Our role in all this is to trust that Jesus is able to do what is necessary and that he has an opinion about what is wise for us.
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